EUGENE, Ore. - The University of Oregon's 2003-04 freshman class of student-athletes posted a 74 percent federal graduation rate, according to the latest data released Wednesday by the NCAA. As a whole, the general student population of the University posted a 70 percent federal rate for the 2003-04 freshman class as both percentages advanced over the previous year.

By comparison, the class of 2002-03 had a federal rate of 65 percent for student-athletes and 66 percent for the entire student body, meaning that the University posted federal graduation rate improvements of nine percent among student-athletes and four percent overall.

The four-year class average graduation rate, which refers to those students who enrolled as freshmen between 2000 and 2003, improved to 66 percent for all students and 65 percent for student-athletes. The four-year average during the previous window, those who enrolled from 1999-2002, was 59 percent for student-athletes and 65 percent for the overall student population.

The federal rate tracks only those who enrolled as freshmen and graduated within a six-year window. Those students who leave school or transfer to another college count against the federal rate, regardless of whether or not they graduate from another University. Conversely, transfers into the University are not counted in the federal data.

The NCAA also released another statistic on Wednesday - the student-athlete Graduation Success Rate, or GSR, in which two- and four-year transfer student graduation rates are taken into account. Additionally, a student-athlete who leaves an institution in good academic standing does not count against a school's GSR.

Oregon had a 76 percent GSR for the 2003-04 freshman class, up slightly from 74 percent for 2002-03.

The University showed improvement among each of the four core Pac-10 sports of men's and women's basketball, football and volleyball. Oregon's four-year average GSR for volleyball went from 80 percent to 90 percent, men's basketball went from 78 to 83 percent, women's basketball went from, 92 to 93 percent and football went from 49 to 54 percent

Softball, men's tennis, women's tennis and women's golf all posted 100 percent four-year average GSRs.

Other notable GSR's went to women's track & field (95 percent), soccer (85 percent) and men's golf (82 percent).

Among federal graduation rates, the football team improved from 45 percent to 53 percent, men's basketball went from 78 to 79 percent, women's basketball went from 69 to 71 percent and volleyball went from 50 to 62 percent.

Additional strong federal graduation rates were posted by softball (87 percent), women's track & field (85 percent), men's golf (82 percent), women's tennis (80 percent) women's golf (78 percent) and women's soccer (70 percent).

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